Rowans and Rocks

BREAKING NEWS – my new book, The House at Ladywell, can be ordered now at Amazon for delivery as soon as it’s published in November, just in time to solve your Christmas present problems ! 

I’m delighted with the newly-revealed cover for ‘The House at Ladywell’ – a stunning image of a wreath of rowan leaves and berries, very simple and bold and very relevant to the story. 

‘The House at Ladywell’ will be published on 14th November by Crooked Cat Books.

This is what it’s about: ‘A hare carved in stone and the scent of flowers in a house full of echoes – can Freya’s inheritance help her leave the past behind?’

As you can see on the cover I’m lucky enough to have a great quote from Sally Zigmond, well-known historical author (‘Hope Against Hope‘), editor and reviewer. She says: ‘An enchanting blend of mystery, history, romance and folklore’ – which sums the book up pretty neatly!

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In other news, my art exhibition ended today so the Engineer and I have dismantled it and brought the remaining paintings home. The framed books are marching back up the wall of the staircase and I’m finally relaxing. I sold three paintings on the night and another two during the month when two separate visitors to the cinema each spotted a painting the liked and contacted me. I met them in the gallery café and we did the deal! They both liked my landscapes, which is interesting and gratifying, because they’re my latest experiment in style. More of that, I think!

This is the most recent painting that sold – ‘Sea Pinks on the Rocks’ (The frame was white, not slightly pink as the photo suggests!)

 

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Books & Pictures

When my first book, Scuba Dancing, was published, the Resident Engineer decided it would be nice to frame it and hang it in the hall – where it was much admired! Now there are seven framed books all ascending the staircase wall and room for more. Back in October, my youngest suggested I should have an exhibition at the Harbour Lights Cinema on the waterfront in Southampton’s Ocean Village. Her idea was to move the books from our hall and hang them in the cinema’s gallery cafe, adding some paintings as well.

Pictures of some of the lovely people who came to the ‘do’:

Olivia, whose idea it was

Our idea was that we’d have a bit of a ‘do’ on the Opening Night, which happened to be Wednesday, 2nd August so I duly invited family and friends – only to realise we’d chosen the wettest day and evening since Noah set out in the Ark.

Fellow Deadly Dame, lovely Charlie Cochrane, who swam in from Romsey

Daughter Amelia and my nice artist friends

It was fun and I’m so grateful to the people who braved the really awful weather to come!

Books, smells, castles and dead kings

A couple of weeks ago I attended the 2017 conference of the Romantic Novelists’ Association which was held at Harper Adams University, originally an agricultural college. The first thing you realise as you arrive by taxi is that there are pigs somewhere near! The Resident Engineer comes from farming folk and I loved everything about Harper Adams, including the fact that my sinuses have never been so thoroughly healthily scoured! The food – grown and raised on the farm – was absolutely delicious.

We weren’t there just to eat however and the talks I attended were varied and interesting, from a discussion on where the publishing industry is heading, to writing a screenplay (illustrated with shots of David Tennant in Broadchurch – not a hardship, that), to several talks on how to cope with Social Media. Something I’m pretty useless at and Must Try Harder. (Pic above, by John Jackson, shows the opening talk with me, bottom right, making notes.) And a photo of David Tennant – and why not?

A highlight was meeting up with fellow authors from my new publisher, Crooked Cat Books. Here: John Jackson, Sue Barnard, me looking scruffy, and Lynn Forth. (Another of John’s photos)The last talk, on the Sunday afternoon, was me talking about changing from writing romantic comedy to writing cosy mysteries. The audience laughed in the right places, made notes, and clapped at the end – result! and that was it for another conference. Always good fun and well worth attending.

The Resident Engineer picked me up and we set off for Ludlow which is where we saw the castle in the title of this post:And on the way home we dropped in to say hello to my favourite dead king of all – and here he is:

Writing and talking, what else?

First of all – the book. ‘The House at Ladywell’ now has a date, Tuesday, 14th November – which is when Crooked Cat Books will publish it simultaneously as an ebook and a paperback. This really, really exciting! It’s a contemporary romantic novel with historical interludes, quite a change for me! Here’s a taster…

‘A hare carved in stone and the scent of flowers in a house full of echoes – can Freya’s inheritance help her leave the past behind


And no, the house in the photo has nothing to do with my fictitious house apart from being a Tudor house in Hampshire (this one’s a pub that’s being revamped). My ‘real’ Tudor house is, like my characters, a patchwork of reality and fiction. And set in a different version of Romsey! Below is the Old Manor House in Romsey which is now a restaurant but which is about the right age for ‘my’ house.

Details of the cover and more info about the book and – most important of all – how to buy it! will be forthcoming in the early autumn. There are several running themes in this book: rowan trees, sacred springs, the scent of flowers, and hares – which have always fascinated me and which I paint occasionally. Here’s one I did earlier!

Secondly – the talk. Sunday, 16th July at the Romantic Novelists’ Association 2017 Conference at Harper Adams University, Telford, Shropshire.

The talk – From Kissing to Killing – is about changing over from writing romantic novels to writing murder mysteries and this is what the programme says about me! ‘Why do romantic novelists so often shine at writing mysteries? Having made the leap (more of a sidle) herself, Nicola Slade discusses what a cosy mystery actually is, some statistics about real-life murders and examples of fictional ones, and she also talks about other romantic novelists who’ve gone over to the dark side…’          One very well-known crime writer also wrote romantic novels under the name of Mary Westmacott – and if it’s good enough for Agatha, it’s certainly good enough for me!

 

 

The House at Ladywell

Would you fall in love at first sight – with a house?

When my second Harriet Quigley mystery was published, blogger Geranium Cat said, in what is still my favourite review: ‘Not listed in the Dramatis Personae at the start of A Crowded Coffin is the Attlin family’s farmhouse, although you feel it should be there; once known as the Angel House, Locksley Farm Place dates back centuries, perhaps to a Roman villa on the same site. The author conveys the sense of the house’s age and antiquity seamlessly… and the reader is left with an impression of great solidity and warmth which permeates the whole book…’

It’s such a perceptive comment and I hope readers will feel the same about this new book because – in The House at Ladywell – the house is clearly the main character. We first ‘meet’ it when Freya, the protagonist, goes to view her inheritance and falls head-over-heels in love with the house. As she settles in the reader gradually learns the history of both the house and the family down through the ages.

I’m delighted to be able to say that I’ve now signed a contract with Crooked Cat Books and they will publish The House at Ladywell as an ebook in the autumn, to be followed by the paperback.

For a change, this book isn’t set in Winchester but not far away in my fictitious town of Ramalley, the small market town where my first published novel, Scuba Dancing, was set. It’s not a follow-up but the town is recognisably the same. It’s also recognisable to sharp-eyed readers who contacted me when Scuba Dancing came out and said, ‘It’s Romsey, isn’t it?’ Of course it is – but it’s Romsey with added extras!

I usually have a picture of the characters inside my head and for some reason Richard Armitage popped up whenever I wrote about Patrick, the contemporary hero. I can’t imagine why but it’s true: that’s exactly how I see him!  (And because one of the historical ‘echoes’ in this book involves the Battle of Waterloo, here’s a gratuitous photo of Sean Bean as Lt Richard Sharpe. And why not?)

In case you’d like to see some of the other inspirations for this book, here’s my Pinterest board for The House at Ladywell. https://uk.pinterest.com/nicola8703/the-house-at-ladywell/I  (Oops, doesn’t seem to work, but here’s my Pinterest account and you’ll find the Board for The House at Ladywell there: https://uk.pinterest.com/nicola8703)

Fun in February

I haven’t been idle in February!  On 15th February I judged a short story competition for the Southampton Writers’ Circle and had a very nice evening with them. There were some intriguing pieces of writing and I found it hard to decide between the top three so I was glad to find I could award Winner, Highly Commended and Commended!

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17th February I turned up on this blog  Bloggers come up with questions that make you stop and think just why you like this, or do that, so it’s always an interesting exercise.novelist.http://lifeofanerdishmum.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/getting-to-knownicola-slade.html?m=1

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 On Getting To Know… today I am welcoming author of the Harriet Quigley Mysteries and Charlotte Richmond Investigates series, Nicola Slade.

You originally wrote a romantic comedy when changing from children’s book to adult books, but you now write two mystery series. What was it that drew you to this genre and prompted you to make the change?

My mother and grandmother were voracious readers so I was always surrounded by books.  I was brought up on mostly Victorian novels and the classic mysteries of the Golden Age: Margery Allingham, Patricia Wentworth, Dorothy L Sayers and to a lesser degree Agatha Christie. It’s the puzzle element that appeals to me in those classic mysteries – who did it, why and how – and working through the various suspects to find the murderer. I love that aspect as a reader and as a writer.

Do you have a favourite character that you have written so far?

My Victorian sleuth, Charlotte Richmond, is my favourite. I’m very fond of Harriet Quigley, my contemporary retired headmistress sleuth but she’s slightly scary after her years as a top headmistress and is comfortable in her own skin. Charlotte is much more vulnerable and has to contend with the problems of being a young widow in the 1850s as well as with the difficulties that arise in a murder case. She has a slightly shady background and comes from Australia, which makes her a curiosity in mid-Victorian England. I’m passionate about history and it’s certainly much easier to set a mystery before the days of forensic science, fingerprints and the internet!

Do you have a set routine or schedule that you like to follow when you’re writing?

Not really, it’s more a case of ‘when the spirit moves me’. I do tend to write mid-morning to mid-afternoon, rather than the classic thing of dashing off a thousand words by breakfast time! Sometimes I’ll lose myself in the story though, and emerge dazed after a long writing session.

When you’re not writing, what would we find you doing?

Chatting and meeting friends is what my family would say! And poking in charity shops and second hand bookshops because a friend and I were antiques dealers in a small way, some years ago, and the urge to check out the date stamp or maker’s mark never leaves you. I love going to castles and stately homes and I read a lot, as well as painting.

You are also an artist and do some wonderful paintings (I love your hares, in particular Hare Flight). Are you a natural artist or is something that you worked on to become?

Thank you! I have a ‘thing’ about painting hares! I did Art at O Level and could always draw, but it wasn’t till my children were older that I started going to art classes. When the teacher retired we set up our own art workshop and hold an exhibition every year. I’m strictly amateur but it’s fun to do and our group is now quite well-known locally. My latest mystery ‘The Art of Murder’ is about an art group, but not – I hasten to add – about the one I belong to!

Have you always known that you wanted to be an author?

I think I was about six when I understood that books came out of people’s heads and decided that’s what I wanted to do. I had some children’s short stories published in my early twenties, then put my creative energies into raising a family, after which I wrote stories for women’s magazines until my first novel, Scuba Dancing, was published.

Harriet Quigley is an older main character than in a lot of books, which is good to see. What was the reason behind choosing to write an older character?

It all stems from my first publisher, Transita Ltd, who published Scuba Dancing. They featured older heroines – from forty-five and upwards and Harriet arose from that idea. The classic lady sleuth tends to be ‘of a certain age’, Miss Marple and Miss Silver, for example, and if you think about it, an older woman is likely to have more time to observe and investigate than if she’s holding down a full-time job. My Victorian heroine, Charlotte, has time on her hands because she’s a lady, but she does have other restrictions – it’s not easy to run away if you’re wearing a crinoline!

You enjoy travelling and have lived in some lovely places, do you have a favourite place that you have visited?

We had a few days in Fiji that were magical – coral islands, palm trees and so on, I’d love to go back one day. Our son and his family live in Sydney and we did a trip to Tasmania which was fabulous; besides seeing the family, Australia has the added bonus of letting me do research for my Australian heroine!

Do you have a favourite author?

I love the novels of Charlotte Yonge, a Victorian best-seller, and I’m particularly fond of her novel ‘The Pillars of the House’. I also love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels and recently, I’ve discovered Jodi Taylor’s The Chronicles of St Mary’s books and can’t wait to read the next.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

My previous publisher ceased trading a year ago so I’ve been wondering which direction I should take. I’m currently revising a contemporary novel which has historical echoes, a kind of time-slip novel, and I’m about to send it to my agent. Besides that, I’m two-thirds of the way into a cosy mystery set in 1918 which is great fun to write, though whether a publisher would like it remains to be seen. There’s always self-publishing which is something I might explore in the future.

Thank you so much to Nicola for taking the time to answer all my questions, it’s been wonderful having her on my blog today.

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18th February saw the Deadly Dames invade Portsmouth in their latest extravaganza: Nemesis with Knitting Needles – discussing whether the female of the (detective) species really is more deadly than the male. http://promotingcrime.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/the-deadly-dames-at-portsmouth-bookfest.html (I really, really must learn not to freeze in terror when I see a camera!)portsmouth-2017-dd-group

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Finally, earlier in the month the Resident Engineer and I escaped to the Mediterranean for a week in Majorca, which is where we spent our honeymoon a very long time ago. The place had changed a bit and the weather back then, which was in January, was a bit less spectacular as this time, although it was 20 degrees on the coast, we actually had one day of snow in the Tramontana Mountains.( Proof below! It didn’t last long and the locals claimed it was one of only two days in February that usually has snow.)

majorcasnowcropped2-164

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Winter Weather, Then and Now

I’ve shamefully neglected my blog, mainly because I tend to hibernate during January, huddling indoors and wishing I was somewhere warm; I only emerge when I need to go shopping for food. Last January though, we went to Liverpool for what I insisted on calling a romantic weekend though the Resident Engineer said it was a research trip to the archive of the Maritime Museum to check out a 1950s circuit diagram for an electric pump made by a long-defunct company. I went along for the ride but he does this kind of thing for fun and this was to do with one of the charities he volunteers for – in this case the Edwardian waterworks. (Photo Liver Bird, Wikipaedia)

liver_bird_liverpoolI’d only been to Liverpool once, back in the 70s when we had two small children and the Engineer did a six month stint of working during the week in Liverpool. In the summer holidays his boss suggested we should all go – I think it was his idea of a reward for me for not making a fuss! I don’t remember much about it but I do remember hauling a 5 year old and a 3 year old round Speke Hall because I still hadn’t cottoned on to the fact that a passion for old houses doesn’t gel with having small children. The Safari Park was a better bet.

Last year’s trip was great. Our hotel was a monument to decayed grandeur. Our room was 30’ long by 20’ wide (I measured it) with an imposing fireplace and walls painted in the pink of old ladies’ corsets, picked out with gold twiddly bits. There was a huge radiator that only came on for a couple of hours in the early evening and the bathroom was large and chilly, with an avocado bath and with green Formica surrounding the wash-basin. There was no heating in there and you could perch frostily on the loo and hear the wind howling through the secondary glazing. However, I loved the place and the food was excellent. Liverpool was lovely too, and I completely fell for the Maritime Museum so we had coffee and lunch there before doing the Ferry Cross the Mersey. Guess what tune they played on a continuous loop? (Photo: Mersey ferry, Wikipaedia)mersey-ferry

To take my mind off winter weather I’ve been checking out the kind of weather our ancestors had to endure, courtesy of http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/wxevents.htm (A brilliant site.)

AD341: Britain: SNOW – up to 15 feet deep lay 6 weeks.

AD1149/50: Severe winter: the first authentic report of the Thames being frozen solid – the frost lasted from December to March and the frozen river was crossed on foot and on horseback. Very intense cold began 10th December 1149 and continued until (at least) February 19th 1150.The Thames was frozen over at London Bridge and supported loaded wagons. (Pic. this later frost fair in the 1680s. Wiki pic)frostfair

AD1564/65: Severe, prolonged frost (set in 7th December 1564). The court of Elizabeth I indulged in sports on the ice at Westminster. Football & other games were also played on the ice. (In the depths of the Little Ice Age, this would not have been too unusual; the reason the event is noted is because the Queen & Court were involved: it would have been an impressive sight!) Pic: Queen Elizabeth too busy at her coronation to think about skating. Wikielizabeth_i_in_coronation_robes

1946/47 – in living memory this one: ‘Mean temperature below 0 degC for 9 weeks. Bulldozers were diverted from bomb clearance to snow clearance. Ice-breakers had to be used in the River Medway  & ice floes were reported in the lower Thames & its Estuary. There were severe losses to agriculture; 2 million sheep died, and the frosts destroyed much of the late potato crop. The aftermath was equally severe, with widespread burst pipes, local flooding as snow melted: winter of extreme misery.’

And now for something not actually very different at all…

Eye witness weather history comes from ‘Small Talk at Wreyland’ 1st ed 1918, by Cecil Torr who quotes from his father’s Victorian diaries. (Wreyland is in Devonshire).

‘Like many others of his time my grandfather was certain that the climate had improved and he thought he saw the cause. He writes to my father on 9th March 1845: Until within the last twenty years our winters were much colder than since, but I never knew such hard freezing as this.

22nd December 1850 attributing the mild weather to ‘the better stage of cultivation of the land draining off the cold stagnant waters that lay about in all directions in my youth.’

‘2nd February 1851: ‘Not a flake of snow fell on the Forest of Dartmoor in the month of January, not the oldest man living on the Moor recollects the like before.’

‘2nd March 1862: The old people say there never was a February without snow.

Finally, some more (almost) eye-witness testimony for history buffs. Cecil Torr (1857-1928) says his father took him as a child to call on a very old man who ‘gave me an account of the beheading of King Charles I as he heard it from somebody who was an eye-witness.’ (Engraving: Charles I execution. Wikipaedia)execution_of_king_charles_i_from_npg

Another time young Cecil visited yet another elderly gent ‘whose great-aunt was told by an elderly lady that she had witnessed the Fire of London when she was about ten years old.’ (Pic: Great Fire of London, Wikipaedia)

The past may be another country but most years you’d need your hat, scarf, gloves and wellies to go there.

The Crown – and my latest book in paperback

the-crown-image

Having got a free trial of Netflix I’ve binge-watched The Crown, the story of the Queen and her reign. The series has had rave reviews and the second ten instalments are currently being filmed. As series 1 takes us up to the mid-1950s I imagine Netflix are rubbing their hands at having lots more decades to work on.

It’s really, really good, as long as you don’t mind the occasional cavalier fiddling with historical facts and you can go along with the necessarily imagined private conversations between the Royals. Imagined, of course, because the Queen is famously reticent as are most of her family. I was brought up in a staunchly monarchist household and I remain convinced that a constitutional monarchy is the best form of democracy – recent election results elsewhere tend to agree. However, this isn’t a political blog so I’ll shut up.matt-smith-as-prince-philip-and-claire-foy-as-queen-elizabeth-in-the-crown-850x560

As the Queen Claire Foy has come a long way from Little Dorrit and Adorabelle Dearheart of the Discworld’s ‘Going Postal’ and from her pouty Anne Boleyn in ‘Wolf Hall’. In fact, she’s excellent, remote but human, qualities which aren’t easy to combine. Watching several episodes at a stretch I’ve found myself enunciating far more clearly and being rather queenly with my vowels, not to mention trying to sit up straight!

Matt Smith is also good as Prince Philip although he’s nowhere near as good-looking. For anyone who only knows the prince as a very, very elderly man, it’s a shock to see photographs of him in his youth – described by someone as a ‘Viking god’ – and not far off the mark if you look at this:youngprincephilipMy squabble with the programme is that the writers have made Prince Philip petulant and pouting which seems very unlike what is actually known about him. Angry and frustrated yes, but not whining and sulking. It’s interesting to remember that Prince Philip had an appalling upbringing – abandoned by his father and with his mother committed to a mental hospital, passed round the family and encountering tragedy at the age of 15 when his sister was killed with her family in an air crash. No wonder he once signed a visitor’s book as ‘Of no fixed abode’, and no surprise he grew up tough and self-sufficient. The photo below shows a wary, watchful little boy.littleprincephilip

John Lithgow who, to me, will always be Dick from Third Rock from the Sun, is terrific as Churchill; not an impersonation but the essence of the character, and his scenes with the young Queen are very well done. The scene where he confronts the truth of Graham Sutherland’s portrait of him – which he loathed and which Lady Churchill destroyed – is both painful and touching.sutherland

If you get the chance, do watch it – I’ve read reports by younger people who say they’d never imagined the Queen and Prince Philip as young people!

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Finally, the paperback of The Art of Murder is now available online – the third outing for Winchester’s Harriet Quigley, retired headmistress and amateur sleuth! nickypaperbacktaom

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Murder-Harriet-Quigley-Mysteries/dp/1539047385/

(The photos are all from public sites so I hope nobody objects!)

My Favourite Things

(Chatting to Annette of Sincerely Book Angels blog – the place to find excellent reviews of books people like to read! Find her here: http://sincerelybookangels.blogspot.co.uk/)

Food Savoury and sweet:
I like a proper roast beef dinner with all the works and one of the few puddings that never lets me down is a pavlova. Even if it collapses you can just pile cream and fruit on top and hide the mistakes!

Drink

I drink gallons of tea but it has to be ‘proper’ English tea, not fruit or herbal or Earl Grey. And not what my Granny called ‘shamrock tea’ ie made with only three leaves¬

Film

Roman Holiday because I saw it with my mum when I was quite young and Sense & Sensibility (the Emma Thompson one) because it’s pretty well perfect. And it has Alan Rickman – can’t ask for more!

Book

A very old one, ‘Pillars of the House’ by Charlotte M Yonge, published in 1873. I was brought up on her books and I love them and when we moved to Hampshire I was thrilled to discover that she lived all her life about three miles down the road from me.

Author

That’s a hard question, I have dozens. Charlotte Yonge, as above, and Angela Thirkell. Newest best author is Jodi Taylor whose ‘Chronicles of St Mary’s’ series is right up there too.

Character

Too hard! Felix Underwood from the Yonge book and Mr Markham from Jodi Taylor’s books

Song

When the Carnival is Over by The Seekers

Holiday destination

Years ago we had a few days’ stopover in Fiji. It was magical and we did a short cruise round the islands. There was white sand, a coral reef, blue sky and a turquoise sea and I remember thinking that at that moment I was completely happy.

Animal

Cats. We’re between cats at the moment.

Person

I’d probably better say it’s my husband!

Place to write

In my untidy study
Season

I love to be warm but I have a Christmas Eve birthday and there’s something about winter and all that anticipation.

Tradition

Still with the Christmas theme, we always have a Chinese takeaway here in the early evening of Christmas Eve, for the whole family

Inspirational quote

I’m not sure I have one but when it comes to romance I quite like quoting my late mother’s slightly cynical: ‘Don’t waste time looking for a knight in shining armour, find one whose armour isn’t too rusty, and polish him up to suit.’

Thing in the whole world

Has to be my family, of course, but also history and all things historical.
Thanks to Annette and her Book Angels for a chance to work out what actually are my favourite things!  http://sincerelybookangels.blogspot.co.uk/
In other news – I’m getting over my accident pretty well, thanks for all the concern. And the paperback of The Art of Murder will be out soon – I’ll blog about it, of course!

A FREE BOOK – DOWNLOAD IT TODAY!

I thought the paperback edition of The Art of Murder would be the next excitement but I was wrong. My new publisher, Endeavour Press, has it on offer as a FREEBIE from first thing today, Monday, 24th to Friday, 29th October. Bargain!the-art-of-murder

I’m not used to this, my previous publisher didn’t go in for this kind of thing and when the first book Scuba Dancing came out eBooks hadn’t arrived so you didn’t get free promotions. It’s all new and slightly terrifying, so much so that Liv (younger daughter) has now set me up on Twitter @nicolasladeuk and I have practically no idea what to do with it. Time will tell.

Anyway, the publisher has asked that I plug the free download all over social media so I’m doing my best, even though – as a nicely brought-up Englishwoman of a certain age I’m cringing to think of shouting: Download my Book. Now! (The saving grace is that as it’s a freebie it’s not actually touting for a sale, so slightly less pushy.)

The book features a couple of Winchester’s most historic places. This is Wolvesey Castle, photo from English Heritage’s website. A fascinating place, much loved by Harriet!

WOLVESEY: OLD BISHOPS PALACE Aerial view 26506_021

WOLVESEY: OLD BISHOPS PALACE Aerial view 26506_021

The other place that gets a mention – and a visit by Harriet and Sam – is the tiny church of St. Swithun-upon-Kingsgate. Not to be missed on a visit to Winchester.stswithuns

Do download the book while it’s free (24th-29th October) and if you like it, please tell your friends and maybe add a review to the lovely ones it’s collecting so far:

‘I spent a pleasant rainy Sunday morning in bed being chilled by the absolutely nasty – and yet so realistic – village characters Ms Slade populates her books with. Cousins Harriet and Sam are delightful amateur sleuths, however, the well drawn characters who share a weekend art school with them are not so nice. Secrets and motives abound and I didn’t figure out “whodunit” before the denouement. If you enjoy classic British crime fiction the Harriet Quigley books will be sure to provide you with an enjoyable read.’

‘If you love a good murder mystery with an Agatha Christie feel, you’ll love this book.’

 ‘If you like the type of mystery that has a group that come together at a venue, including a killer and lots of suspects, you will enjoy this book. It is a cosy mystery, but not silly with it. I did enjoy it, and read it through quickly as I really wanted to see what was happening. It was a little different and the characters certainly made you feel some emotion.’ 

 ‘I’ve always loved this style of writing. Fast flowing with many different characters. Each one with a different tale to add to the growing mystery. If you are like minded with a need to be creative you may think twice about joining an art group, after reading this brilliant book. It is one thing to wield a paint brush, while being creative on an art weekend, but to be plotting murder, well that’s a masterpiece.’

‘Having read the previous Harriet Quigley Mystery, I had high expectations of this novel. All I can say is that they were surpassed, I love the characters of Harriet and Sam, they work well together and have a believable, non-romantic, relationship. Drawn into the story and wanting to know ‘whodunit’ I read this in one sitting – which meant I didn’t put the book down until the early morning! Still my lack sleep was well worth it and I cannot recommend this author highly enough.’

In other news, I’m recovering from the accident I described in my last post. Walking without crutches unless I’m out somewhere crowded, in which case I like to have a crutch handy – it makes people give me a wide berth and hopefully they won’t knock me over! The concussion is a lot better and I’m reading again, which is a relief!a